Blogging with Grace & Ease


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Introverted? Hate traditional networking? Here's an easy, quick read to get you started on blogging as part of your client attraction marketing action plan.

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Blogging with Grace & Ease

  1. 1. Screen shot of one of Deah’sblogs, found at: Th e N o Hy p e Me n t o r Qu ic k S tart Gu id e B lo g g in g w ith Gra c e a n d Ea s e fo r th e ra p is ts , NDs a n d c o a c h e s from Deah Curry PhD Certified Professional Marketing Coach Page 1 of 15 © 2009 Deah Curry PhD, CPC All Rights Reserved
  2. 2. This quick Start Guide is a copyrighted publication of Liminal Realities and The No Hype Marketing Mentor, made available exclusively to the clients of Deah Curry, PhD, CPC. No part may be transferred to other persons via any means whatsoever. By requesting and/or receiving this Guide, you are agreeing to use the material and ideas contained within for your sole individual professional use in the pursuit of your client attraction activities, and to not circulate or distribute this Guide to others as part of your business networking or professional activities. Who This Quick Guide Will Help The Blogging with Grace and Ease Quick Guide is best suited for introverted solopreneurs who have not ventured very far into relationship-centered, internet-based marketing, but want to create trust and rapport with a targeted client or patient population niche and establish themselves as THE provider to turn to when help is needed. Blogging can be a good marketing tool for you if you are disciplined and find writing a fairly easy and fun activity . Contents What’ s the Difference Between a Website and a Blog ~~~~~ p 3 Blog, Ezine, Mini-Courses , Articles , or E-Books ~~~~~~~~~~ p 4 Where Are Blog Platforms Found ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ p 4 Getting Your Target Niche to Your Blog ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ p 5 When You Should Start Your Blog ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ p 5 Why Professionals in the Healing Arts Should Blog ~~~~~~~ p 6 How To Start and Sustain a Client Attracting Blog ~~~~~~~ p 7 Ethical Cautions & Legal Disclaimer Notice ~~~~~~~~~~~~ p 10 Don’t Forget ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ p 11 Good Example Links ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ p 12 More Services ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ p 13 Page 2 of 15 © 2009 Deah Curry PhD, CPC All Rights Reserved
  3. 3. What’ s the Difference Between a Website and a Blog A blog – which is techno-speak for web log – is meant to be a collection of continually fresh entries. They should be short : 5-7 paragraphs of not more than 3 sentences each is long enough. The topics should be focused and reader-friendly . The more useful , the better. As marketing tools, the most effective blogs are solution focused . Each entry poses a problem, then offers ways or steps for solving it. Because the purpose of a blog is to build readership by offering useful tips, information or resources, the best blogs have new entries at least once a week . That frequency is another reason to keep entries short. A blog serves the purpose of providing information of value to your potential clients of the future. These are individuals who aren yet ready for your services, or who haven ’t ’t yet decided that they even have a problem that needs attention. They are simply looking for quick answers to specific questions. A website is a horse of a different color. It too is a marketing tool – and should be your primary marketing “face” to your ideal client niche. It is meant to establish an emotional connection with prospective clients who are ready to hire you. Although it is good for a website to have new content somewhat often (because this helps your search engine rankings and thereby helps people find your services more easily), website pages tend to remain mostly intact once perfected to optimum client attractivenes s . (With minor additions of new links and offerings, of course!) The exception to that is when you have a page of products , services, or free resources that you are continually adding to. Usually that will not be your homepage. However, your website homepage might include a self- refreshing feature that ’s continually updates itself. Examples of this would be a revolving quotes widget, or a poll widget in which visitors can participate in the poll and then will see the results. Page 3 of 15 © 2009 Deah Curry PhD, CPC All Rights Reserved
  4. 4. For a revolving quotes feature, see www.ThinkExist. com . For a poll widget, see www. Bravenet . com . Blogs , Ezines , Mini-Courses , Articles , or E-Books There are many forms of writing that can be cultivated to market your practice. I recommend doing the ones that are fun and easy for you. Here are some broad distinctions between the choices to help you decide what may be your best option. Blogs – often a first introduction to you. Readers come to you looking for solutions , how to information, and in some cases, thought- provoking or persepctive shifting opinions about their choices. One topic or question per post is standard. Best when done daily, weekly is acceptable. You write for a niche audience, but don really know ’t who’sreading. Free to the reader. Ezines – a warm keep in touch connection with prospective, current, and former clients. You go to established, known, niche readers who specifically want your thoughts or advice . Usually several topics or short articles are included. Best when done weekly or monthly . Used to address known areas of interest among your followers. Free. Mini-Courses – an automated installment series for a try-before-you-buy taste of you. Teaching or information that demonstrates what buyers of your services or products will experience when working with you. Create once , then little to no effort required. Used to build warm prospects list and further the sticky factor for your website. Free. Articles – develops emotional connection with readers through anecdotes , stories about other people struggles and inspiring successes. Or can be repurposed and ’s lengthened how-to or why-to information from previous blogs and ezines. Usually 500- 1000 word limit. Online on your website and in article banks, used as special Page 4 of 15 © 2009 Deah Curry PhD, CPC All Rights Reserved
  5. 5. report give- aways or fliers at networking events, or published by local, regional or national newspapers or magazines. Usually free to readers, and unpaid in publications. E-Books – detailed how- to guides or collected interviews , with background information, definitions , resources , and in some cases, worksheets . Graphics , charts, tables , color provide professional quality. No word or page limit: 10-50 pages is common, up to 250+ pages not unheard of. Should be structured in sections, with table of contents. Can be purchased from you, sold through 3rd party outlets like Amazon in some cases, or free to the reader. Where Are Blog Platforms Found Your blog could be part of your website . Technologically, that’spossible – especially if a web designer has created your website and included blogging and archiving pages. Some people recommend that, as a way to increase search engine rankings for your website. You might even have used a webhosting service that provides a website self- design program in which you have a choice of a regular website or a blog template. Some of these services allow you to integrate blog pages into the regular website template. For do- it-yourselfers , I recommend keeping the website and blog separate . This is easier to create without a lot of special computer code knowledge because there are several free internet services where you can create a blog without having to worry about anything but writing the entries. Check out these services for blogs: • www. blogger . com (free, will need a free Google account login) • www. bravenet . com (free, with cool features) • www.typepad. com (free trial, then $4.95/mo) • www. wordpress . com (free, but more difficult to set up) Page 5 of 15 © 2009 Deah Curry PhD, CPC All Rights Reserved
  6. 6. Getting Your Target Niche to Your Blog If you create a blog somewhere other than your primary website, be sure to add a link on the blog that will take visitors back to the website. Also, if you are very good at keeping your blog active – that is, updated with new entries every week – be sure to list your blog on your business card and in your email signature block, along with your website. Another great way to direct traffic to your blog – which should then send traffic to your website – is to post teasers on the social media such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Plaxo, BizNik, Facebook, etc. In fact, by some magical process, your blog entries may begin appearing on some of these. As disconcerting as that can be, it’sa good thing. For an example of how that works, see www.Twitter. com/NoHypeCoach Page 6 of 15 © 2009 Deah Curry PhD, CPC All Rights Reserved
  7. 7. When You Should Start Your Blog A blog can be started any time. If you are already in practice, I recommend starting your blog after your primary website is completed. A blog is a supplement to your primary website, not a substitute. It’smain function is to inform and assist , not to persuade or sell (those are the main functions of your website). If you are still in training , though, it’snot a bad idea to start a blog. This can serve several useful pre-marketing purpose s for you: • Gives you experience in setting up an informational site on the web • It’sa less pressured time to test out ideas , see what your niche responds to • Starts a bank of rapport building articles that can be multi-purposed later • Begins to establish your web presence as a knowledgable person • Can be a place where student- colleagues interact with your ideas • Builds web traffic that will help search results for your website later on Start a blog when you have something of value to say , and be mindful of using different entries to elaborate on each point, so that no one entry is too long. When should you end a blog ? Perhaps it’sa good idea here to mention when you should terminate your blog and take it offline. As a marketing tool, a blog whose last entry is more than 6 months old may be more detrimental to your business than not having a blog at all. Before taking your blog offline, though, be sure to copy and paste all the entries into a Word document. This will preserve your intellectual property so you can use it for other purposes at a later time. Page 7 of 15 © 2009 Deah Curry PhD, CPC All Rights Reserved
  8. 8. Why Professionals in the Healing Arts Should Blog When you blog, you are creating and/or enhancing your profes sional reputation. You are giving information of value to potential patients or clients that may be the start of your therapeutic alliance or coaching partnership. Giving free self-help advice, action step tips, healthful recipes, etc., promotes not only goodwill , but lets future clients / patients get to know what to expect from you. It positions you as warm, friendly, generous, helpful, empathetic, and knowledgeable without having to say any of those things directly. It gives potential clients a favorable experience of you before you’veeven met. More importantly, a blog contributes to your reputation as a specialist in your type of work. Even though most of us were trained to be generalists in our professions, to gain a steady flow of clients you need to market as a specialist. Presenting yourself as a specialist does not limit who you actually accept as a client or patient. It simply maximizes your client attrativeness magnetism. In terms of time and energy management, blogging is one of the most effective tools and uses of time for the introverted solopreneur. An entry can be multi-purposed and used in your newsletter to referral sources, as a tip sheet give-away from your website, as part of an installment mini-course (autoresponder) series, as a networking or workshop handout, etc. Write it once, use it 4 or 5 times, or more. And, as a special bonus for the introverted solopreneur, blogging is a way to network without having to attend a chamber of commerce or prospecting breakfast at 7 am and remember your elevator speech! Blogging is a very low-cost / high reward marketing activity. Page 8 of 15 © 2009 Deah Curry PhD, CPC All Rights Reserved
  9. 9. How To Start and Sustain a Client Attracting Blog First, Brainstorm Topics – Start a list of topics you think your ideal client / patient niche wants information on. (This requires knowing some details about who they are. Need help with that? See www.TheNoHypeMentor. com ) Topics can be found everywhere. Use spare moments to imagine the day your ideal client is having, and brainstorm topics they would read to help them get through it. Keeping eyes and ears open for good topics is part of engaging in the act of marketing intelligence : gathering information about what matters to your potential niche. Otherwise idle time spent waiting in public places is a rich opportunity to develop months of blog topics . Eavesdrop on conversations at the table next to you at lunch, on the parents standing together at the soccer game, on the other passengers at the airport while you wait for your flight, on couples standing in line for a vente skinny mocha, on exasperated moms at the grocery store, etc. Build your list from what is really on people ’ s minds . Pay attention to what is in the daily news that would cause distress to your market niche, and brainstorm how you’dhelp the 5 people who come to your office today with that problem. Anticipate the issue s that routinely arise with the seasons, the holidays, other calendar or life span events, project how you would help, and add those topics to your brainstorm list of topics. Sometimes brainstorming gives you several bullet points to address for each topic. Be sure to capture those to expand on later. When you can’tthink of more topics, review your list and note what points you could make on each one. If you have more than 3 good points to make, divide that topic into separate entries to avoid it becoming too long for the average blog visitor to read. Page 9 of 15 © 2009 Deah Curry PhD, CPC All Rights Reserved
  10. 10. Start Writing -- The best tip I can give you for writing your blog entries with ease is to turn your topic idea into a question , imagine a real person is sitting in your office or on the phone asking this question, and simply write out your answer. If that doesn fill ’t 3-5 paragraphs, ask one of the 5 basic questions about the question: • Who does this topic affect, impact, impair, benefit, behoove, help? • What are the 2-3 most important things everyone should know about it? • When will this problem occur, or when will it end? • Where will the problem occur, be the worst, have least impact? • Why does this happen at all, why did it happen now? • How can readers change, end, or improve the problem? Write simple, direct, jargonles s answers to your topic question. No need for references – YOU are the reference! No need for statistics and proofs – blogs aren’t meant to be academic essays. Be short, and to the point – your readers have limited time and attention spans. Don’t bother with the proper rules of essay writing you learned in high school and college. Blog entries don’tneed well crafted transitional paragraphs, or conclusions. Simply stop writing when you’veaddressed each point. Do bother with proper spelling, grammar and syntax , as these are important to creating your image as a knowledgeable professional and specialist in your field. Blogs aren’tcell phone text messages where all rules are completely fractured and communication itself needs a decoder ring. Writing is easiest when you have that list of topics to choose from. But don’tlet lack of a list stop you. If inspiration strikes, once you are in the swing of blogging, you will likely be able to write an entry in 15-30 minutes during a class break, on the bus in traffic, at lunch, as a brain stimulator to get you awake in the mornings (that’soften when I blog). When clients cancel, that’sa perfect gift hour to write a couple blog entries. Page 10 of 15 © 2009 Deah Curry PhD, CPC All Rights Reserved
  11. 11. Get Your Blog Online -- If you are a computer novice, get a kid to help you. Seriously. Your own children and teens, or the neighbors are likely to be techno- ’, savvy enough to establish a blog account for you and to guide you through the template design process. Or take a class at a nearby community center , or call a local community college for low-cost assistance. If you have some internet experience, you should find the blog platforms listed earlier fairly easy to navigate. is the easiest by far. Whichever one you select, play with it. You won break it. Experiment with templates, colors, and features until ’t you have the design just how you like it. Due to some technical issues I don fully understand, you may not be able to simply ’t copy and paste from Word into your blog directly. This is the one obstacle with It will save a lot of frustration to simply compos e your blog online . Preview the page to see how the entry will look to your blog visitors. Change the font style, color, or size accordingly. Post One Entry a Week – To be a good client attraction magnet, your blog needs fresh entries on a frequent basis. Just what frequent means for you depends on how much you are relying on your blog to build your professional reputation on the internet. If this is your only web presence, daily is best. Weekly is probably the minimal frequency that will serve you as a marketing tool. If you have other web presences – a website, an e-store, locator profiles – you can get away with updating your blog monthly or even less. In this case, great content is really important . Make sure every entry is of high value to your niche . Frequency matters. Why? Because a blog that hasn’tbeen updated – no new entries – in more than 3-6 months can leave a visitor wondering if you are still in busines s . If they have been regular readers and have come to rely on your valuable information, they may feel abandonned , even though you have never met. While this is not a legal obligation, it’sbad public relations. You could lose clients you didn’teven know you lost. Page 11 of 15 © 2009 Deah Curry PhD, CPC All Rights Reserved
  12. 12. Ethical Cautions & Legal Disclaimer Notice Mental health counselors, and to some extent also naturopathic doctors, need to consider issues of confidentiality, privacy , and duty as mandated reporters when becoming a blogger. Let’stake the issues and solutions one at a time. Obviously, client information can ’t be shared or alluded to in order to illustrate a point. You can, however, speak about an imagined , hypothetical client or patient to personalize your information and make it more relateable to the reader. Be sure to clearly note at the bottom or in parentheses that the individuals written about were fictional. Nor is a blog the place for client testimonials that you generate. If your patients or clients find your blog and leave a glowing comment about the treatment they received, they have implicitly taken the responsibility for violating their own privacy and confidentiality. This is more likely to happen on ND blogs than on counselors blogs where people feel less guarded about revealing a treatment for allergies or back pain than about a deep seated trauma that lingers as post traumatic stress, for example. You can take control of who gets to leave a comment. The blogging platform you use will likely have the ability to moderate comments . You get to choose whether to accept and publish, or reject a comment. You’llbe able to screen comments if you select the ability to moderate rather than allowing anyone to comment on your blog. This provides a safety feature for you in regards to inappropriate or ethically questionable comments. But it does mean that you will need to be responsive to the notices that a comment is awaiting moderation and decision from you. Unlike other authors, self-help suggestions given by NDs and counselors could potentially be misconstrued as therapeutic or medical advice. For that reason it is a good idea to include a disclaimer of liability statement in the footer of the blog. Although it’swise to have your disclaimer reviewed by your attorney, here is one I use. Feel free to adapt it for your purposes. Page 12 of 15 © 2009 Deah Curry PhD, CPC All Rights Reserved
  13. 13. Nothing in these blog postings constitutes a counseling, therapeutic or medical relationship between writer and readers. Content is provided for educational purposes and liability for any adverse impact should readers choose to implement information herein lies solely with the reader. Author is not responsible for the actions of blog readers, nor for any disclosures made in comments. Opinions vary on whether you have a duty to report or respond to persons who leave disclosures of intent to harm or having perpetrated harm. In most cases, mere posting of blog entries and accepting comments from unknown individuals would not reasonably constitute a clinical relationship such that your duty to report or respond would be triggered. However, if you are concerned about attracting these kinds of comments, simply don’t allow comments at all. That is perfectly acceptable, and not a detriment to your marketing purposes of blogging. Don’t Forget A few items you don’twant to forget on your blog: 1. The basics : your name and photo, practice name and logo if available, tagline, email link, phone number, website link and url, office address. 2. A sign up form for your ezine or for an autoresponder special tips series. 3. Links to other sites that help YOU – your profiles in locator directories, your articles in article banks, your Twitter page, allied professionals with whom you have cross referral arrangements, professional organizations in which you are a member (APA, NASW, AANP, ICF, etc) – perhaps to their code of ethics page, etc. 4. Archive of past blog entries, organized by date, year or title. 5. A mini-bio of you in the sidebar (be mindful of this as a marketing tool, not a list of personal hobbies) Page 13 of 15 © 2009 Deah Curry PhD, CPC All Rights Reserved
  14. 14. For further information on blogging and its jargon, see this website: http://www. ojr/stories /050714 gardner/ Good Example Links Counseling Blog ~ Cynthia McKenna, LPC http://www. counseling . typepad . com / Life & Therapy ~ Elyn Tromey, LPC http://elyntromey . com /therapyblog / That’sNot What I Meant to Say ~ Brenda Corderman, LMFT http://thatsnotwhatimeanttosay . blog spot . com / New York Naturopathic Blog ~ Jared Hanson, ND, LAc http://www.jaredhanson . com / blog / Lumina Health Naturopathic Medicine ~ Deborah Epstein, ND http://lumina-health. com /AskDrDeb.aspx ADD/ADHD Coaching Blog http://www.addcoachingblog . com / Cassandra Rae’sSimply Fearless Coaching http://www. cas sandrarae. com / Transitions Life Coaching ~ Jackie Fletcher, LCC http://www/transitionslifecoaching . co . uk/blogger. php Page 14 of 15 © 2009 Deah Curry PhD, CPC All Rights Reserved
  15. 15. More Services from Deah Curry PhD, CPC ~ 425-81 4-9083 Single Ses sion Strategic Guidance or Review Highly focused coaching, expert critique, problem solving exploration on the project or topic of concern for you Best for experienced marketers who need just a little extra help in working through a specific obstacle, or who want direction in moving to the next level 1 – 6 Months of No Hype Marketing Mentor-Coaching Customized packages best for the new and struggling practitioner who needs to establish a web- presence and/or overall marketing strategy and wants skills in making a compelling, magnetic connection with niche markets and has the time and commitment to invest in making their business thrive Provides skills training, strategies, and coaching for glowing confidence Astrological Bu sines s Coaching For the curious and the indecisive Charts best days to open a practice, launch a marketing campaign or move a business Determines the personality of you business and its compatibility with you! Get Clients Now!™ 28-Day Program Facilitation In groups or individually, highly structured blueprint for success Best for the high achieving, serious solopreneur who doesn let anything anything stand in the way of reaching their goals ’t Ask about whether this is right for you Page 15 of 15 © 2009 Deah Curry PhD, CPC All Rights Reserved